The only private abortion clinic in New Brunswick has announced it is closing due to financial instability.
Dr. Adrian Edgar, medical director of Clinic 554 in Fredericton, announced the closure in a statement on Thursday.
“What this means for our nearly 3,000 patients is that within 90 days of the clinic’s sale, our team will have nowhere to provide our services,” he said in a statement.
“Though I will do everything in my power to renew stable medications and ensure appropriate followup for my elderly patients, newborns and those with chronic health conditions, you, like nearly 20,000 other New Brunswickers, will be placed on the provincial wait list for a family doctor.”
Edgar blames the provincial government’s “refusal to fund health-care equality” as one of the reasons for the closure. He says the province “unilaterally refuses” to allow medicare to cover the cost of a patient who comes to him for an abortion procedure.
“The province either offloads that fee onto the patient or myself and our loving team of nurses and allied providers,” Edgar said.
“The province does this knowing it is not fair or financially sustainable to ask health-care providers to work without wages, nor is it legal to force only patients who have a uterus to pay for their health care.”
The province only covers abortions provided at two hospitals in Moncton and one hospital in Bathurst.
New Brunswick Department of Health spokesperson Bruce Macfarlane said in a statement Thursday that the province’s position on abortions remains unchanged from that of the previous government.
“Abortions are available in publicly-funded hospitals in New Brunswick,” Macfarlane stated. “The Department of Health, in accordance with the Canada Health Act, does not fund private healthcare services.”
New Brunswick Health Minister Ted Flemming wasn’t made available for an interview.
In a statement on the Thursday, Canada’s New Democratic Party said Justin Trudeau’s “refusal to enforce the Canada Health Act has led directly to the closure of New Brunswick’s only freestanding abortion clinic.”
“In Atlantic Canada access to abortions is limited and expensive, forcing some people to travel up to 500 kilometres to access surgical abortion,” the statement reads.
“Justin Trudeau has ignored widespread calls to stand up for abortion services in New Brunswick.”
Edgar is calling on federal party leaders to take responsibly for protecting universal health care and ensuring it is available to all Canadians, specifically abortion services in New Brunswick.
“I am sad that during this federal election, our leaders have focused on whether or not they’ll reopen the debate on abortion rather than the real crisis at hand — access,” Edgar said.